The purpose of the committee is to hash out the differences between the two, very different, bills passed by each body separately. The version passed by the House did not have any Republican support. Senate Democrats relied on the support of three Republicans, Senators Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) to get the bill through and significant changes were made to the House's version in those negotiations. The biggest differences between the bills is that the Senate version focuses more on tax cuts and offers less spending than the House version.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Senate appointees to the conference include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-NV), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). They will be joined at the cutting table by Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations Congressman David Obey (D-WI), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY), Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI) .